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As spring the winter doth succeed

Image: painting of Anne Bradstreet, image information and
licensing https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Annebradstreet.jpg

I've generally been hesitant to post vocal music here, since not having a singer to work with, I have to post sound files using software-generated choral ah voices.  But since the few vocal pieces I've posted here have received some attention, I thought I would try another one, again emphasizing that the sound file is meant only as a demo to aid in imagining an actual performance; it is not the final product of my composition.   At any rate the poem by Anne Bradstreet which I've used for the lyrics is so fine, and the melody by Thomas Tallis which I've adapted so beautiful, that I hope forum members will find the piece of interest however inept my realization of these materials may have been.

Anne Bradstreet, a 17th century New England puritan, is often considered the first notable English language poet of North America; Thomas Tallis was an important 16th century English composer mostly of church music.

Probably best accessed on MuseScore, where you can see the score and hear the sound file simultaneously; otherwise, score pdf and mp3 sound file attached.

As always, comments welcome, even if a long time has passed since this was posted.

As_spring_the_winter_doth_succeed.pdf

As_spring_the_winter_doth_succeed.mp3

The lyrics are in the score, but some people may find it convenient to have them here:

As spring the winter doth succeed by Anne Bradstreet

(slightly adapted by Jon Corelis)

As spring the winter doth succeed
and leaves the naked trees do dress,
the earth all black is clothed in green;
at sunshine each their joy express;
at sunshine each their joy express

My sun's returned with healing wings,
my soul and body doth rejoice;
my heart exults and praises sings
to Him that heard my wailing voice;
to Him that heard my wailing voice

My winter's past, my storms are gone,
and former clouds seem now all fled;
but if they must eclipse again,
I'll run where I was comfortéd;
I'll run where I was comfortéd.

I have a shelter from the storm,
a shadow from the fainting heat;
I have access unto his throne,
who is a God so wondrous great;
who is a God so wondrous great.

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Jon,

Yes it would be wonderful if you could get the actual vocals. Like yourself I am restricted to choir samples for choral work. 

I believe this would fit well into a service and I can imagine those vocals sung.

It looks as if you've put some time into the poetry. Has that great hymn appeal to it.

Thanks for the comment.  If I ever get a recorded performance of this, I'll post it.

Timothy Smith said:

Jon,

Yes it would be wonderful if you could get the actual vocals. Like yourself I am restricted to choir samples for choral work. 

I believe this would fit well into a service and I can imagine those vocals sung.

It looks as if you've put some time into the poetry. Has that great hymn appeal to it.

This a lovely song, hymn-like, but the vocals disturb me a little bit. Some soprano-aahs stick out so harshly that they hurt my ears. It would be very interesting to hear this song performed either by a live choir or at least by a good syllable choir (Kontakt has a pretty good one). The word-singing choirs are still very expensive...

Good dynamic and tempo variation could be very helpful here to bring some more liveliness.

Despite the rather poor choir performance, the song stands firmly. I really like it!

Thanks for the comments, which I'll keep in mind for future revisions.  I work from orchestration books' choral vocal range charts to determine my compositions' ranges, but I'm finding more and more that it's better not to use, at least not very much, the top and bottom of theoretically possible ranges.  I'll probably revise this piece eventually to limit the ranges.  I also probably am too conservative with dynamics in composing everything; I don't like a lot of razzle-dazzle, especially in a vocal piece, where I always feel the main thing is to highlight the lyrics, but I probably go too far in the other direction.

Incidentally, my method here of matching existing lyrics to an existing melody used to be very common, and from the scores I've seen was probably even the standard way of composing hymns through the nineteenth century.

I hope you will John!

Jon Corelis said:

Thanks for the comment.  If I ever get a recorded performance of this, I'll post it.

Timothy Smith said:

Jon,

Yes it would be wonderful if you could get the actual vocals. Like yourself I am restricted to choir samples for choral work. 

I believe this would fit well into a service and I can imagine those vocals sung.

It looks as if you've put some time into the poetry. Has that great hymn appeal to it.

Jon, this is a lovely hymn-like choral work and I, too, could see this being sung at a service. The only thing that disturbed me a little was that there seems to be not enough rhythmic independence of the voices in my opinion... especially at cadences where a dotted half note is followed by a quarter note (e.g. bar 8), why not have the tenor and bass voices move in half notes, instead of all 4 voices holding the dotted half note? Just a suggestion, but my feeling is that even a little more independence of the voices would go a long way toward making a very lovely piece even lovelier. Kudos.

Thanks for the comment.  I'm glad you liked it.  I am always revising, and I'll keep your advice in mind for a future version.

Hi Jon, this is a really nice. I have worked as a church choir conductor, and this piece has the vibe and style that would have greatly appealed to me.

It would be very interesting to hear it with the words, as that gives shape to the music that these synth voices don't convey. I also agree with Liz's comment above: adding some more independent movement between the voices would be worth trying out. I think it would add to what is already a great sounding piece of music. 

Thanks for the kind comments and advice -- I will keep it in mind.

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